Johannesburg, 30th October 2015; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Small Business Development (dsbd) today announced the official launch of finfind, a web-based solution that brings together financiers from the private sector and government, business consultants and the small business owner to increase access to finance.
“Government has prioritised entrepreneurship and the advancement of SMMEs as the catalyst to achieving economic growth and development. We are very excited about the finfind solution and trust that it will result in the provision of adequate financial assistance to SMMEs nationwide, thereby ensuring the long-term prosperity of the sector and the country as a whole,” explained Minister Lindiwe Zulu from the Ministry of Small Business Development.
“After a two-year pilot project, we are particularly pleased to officially launch finfind in South Africa. One of the main reasons why SMME owners struggle to obtain finance is because they are not considered ‘finance ready’ by large banking institutions. Secondly, no single solution presently exists that assists a business owner to explore all the finance options available to them. Finfind meets these needs and provides detailed information about available lending products and institutions, answers frequently asked questions and works with the owner to become ‘finance ready’ and assists them with linkage to matching lenders based on the information they provide about themselves as the owner and their business” explains Darlene Menzies, CEO of finfind.
Seda, the dsbd and the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) have worked with USAID and finfind over the past two years to engage the banks, private and public sector lenders and all government grants and loan providers, thereby ensuring their inclusion in the lender database housed within the portal.
“Finfind provides a summary of all government funds available to small business along with information about lessor known private sector finance options. The SMME owner is able to access information about all the various types of funding available as well as access to finance-literacy modules and advice to help them become ‘finance ready.’ The owner works through an online process answering questions related to their finance readiness – if they are ready to access finance and their company information is verified; they are linked with matching lenders. If they are not ready they are assisted with step by step advice to become finance ready,” continues Darlene Menzies, CEO of finfind.
The built-in verification system was incorporated to protect lenders and ensure that only ‘finance ready’ applicants gain access to lenders’ details.
An additional benefit finfind provides is assistance to SMME owners with links to experienced business advisors through the Institute for Business Advisors South Africa (IBASA) as well as a variety of small business support services through Seda branches throughout the country. Should the business require assistance to get their books up to date or to generate financial statements for lenders, they are linked with small business bookkeepers and accountants through finfind’s partnership with the South African institute for Professional Accountants (SAIPA). Furthermore, finfind also provides access to simple finance readiness tools to help start-ups and small business owners who struggle with managing the accounting elements of their business.
“The collaboration and partnership we see today communicates a message that the growth and sustainability of small businesses is not the sole responsibility of government. Collectively, we carry a joint responsibility to support small businesses. The collaboration and initiative witnessed here today is exactly the ingenuity South Africa needs to drive entrepreneurship and empowerment. We are confident that this initiative is part of the ammunition we need to defeat the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” concluded Minister Zulu.
For further information: FleishmanHillard on behalf of finfind
Contact: Ulwazi Mgwadleka
TEL: 011 548 2046
Date: Friday, 30 October 2015